MN Delta Employees Get Piece of $313M Payout

Thousands of Delta employees in Minnesota will benefit from profit-sharing payouts from the Atlanta-based airline.

Delta Air Lines announced Monday that it will reward its employees with profit-sharing payouts totaling $313 million-the largest such payment the Atlanta-based airline has ever doled out.

Delta employs more than 12,000 in Minnesota, many of whom joined the company as a result of its merger with Northwest Airlines in 2008. The company employs more than 80,000 workers worldwide.

CEO Richard Anderson announced the payouts to company employees in a recent memo.

The airline reported $1.4 billion in profit in 2010, and Anderson says that the profit-sharing payouts are a direct reward for its employees' roles in the company's financial success.

Delta spokeswoman Leslie Parker said in a Monday phone interview that the “vast majority” of the company's Minnesota employees work in the Twin Cities, although it also employs people at an office in Chisholm and at smaller airports throughout the state.

According to Parker, everyone employed by the company in a position below the director level will benefit from the payout-which will be disbursed as a percentage of employees' 2010 earnings. Many workers will get 6.5 percent of their 2010 earnings, while those who remain under union contracts from before the company's merger with Northwest will get 3.2 percent of their earnings.

The recent payouts do not mark the first such compensation incentives awarded by the airline: In 2007, the year that Delta emerged from bankruptcy, the company's employees earned a total of $158 million through similar payouts.

According to a report by Bloomberg, United Continental is taking a similar measure to award employees: The Chicago-based airline is reportedly handing out $224 million in profit-sharing payouts to its 87,000 employees.

Delta Air Lines serves more than 160 million customers each year. It maintains a significance presence at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), from which it operates more than 500 daily departures to 136 destinations worldwide.

Earlier this month, Twin Cities Business reported that the first phase of MSP's planned $2 billion expansion is moving forward.